But what if we don’t feel the joy this season? What if the merry doesn’t rock our world? What if our souls don’t feel the presence of Christ in the season? What if we can’t find the Baby in the manger? What if our hearts have lost the wonder of all the things that Mary pondered in her heart? What if we just can’t bring ourselves to all-out feel the joy that this Promise of the season brings?
What do you do if you’re feeling the grief and loss of Passion Week versus the fullness of joy in the birth of Emmanuel, God with us?
Perhaps you wonder if Mary would have revelled in her dear baby’s face if she would have known the horror of 33 years from that blessed moment of new life. Maybe you are living a horror of your own right now and you wonder if you can ever feel the joy of Emmanuel. Maybe you beat your fists on heaven’s door and you scream at the thought of “God with us”.
You ask where the joy is, where the merry is, where the Christ is, in “Merry Christmas” and “Joy to the World” when:
- 132 school children in Peshawar aren’t with their parents and fear is on the faces of those who remain
- a New York bride mourns the senseless assassination of her police officer husband and his partner’s thirteen year old son has lost his role model, his dad, to the same senseless shooting
- a class of sixth grade students and our whole community grieves the loss of a dynamic teacher at the hands of a disgruntled robber
- every day children are sold into slavery
- every day perpetrators get away with sins that make you nauseous
- women are forced to sell their bodies in order to give life to their children
- children are dying from starvation
- orphans are roaming the streets in search of love, food, and shelter
- bullets are flying, bombs are exploding, and hatred is rampant
- soldiers are putting their lives on the line and losing limbs all for the sake of a country who is losing itself
- men and women are shivering under cardboard shelters because they’ve lost everything they’ve had
- addictions ruin lives and sell souls to the lowest bidder
- Ebola is claiming the lives of many, including those who are trying to fight the epidemic
- cancer is claiming moms and dads and innocent kids
- there’s empty chairs at so many Christmas celebrations this year and all the years to come, loved ones gone too quickly, gone without time to say goodbye
Our hearts ache and our souls weep for the brokenness in this world. We take our eyes off the manger and we follow the hope of the Savior born, all the way through the agony of the Cross, to the power of the Resurrection. And we whisper to the weary and downtrodden, “Look up. See the One who is with you, feels every hurt you feel, catches every tear you cry, wraps his arms around you, and breathes joy into your sorrow. Be brave, dear one, joy will come. Christmas will bring merry once again to you. Be patient, my dear friend, healing is possible for all hurts, all wounds.”
We look for the Emmanuel to once again come and save us. He is with us now but oh how we long for Him to come back to us and take us with Him to a place where grief never pervades and joy is always filling the air.
May your aching hearts experience healing and may the Hope of the Savior born wash over your souls.
Love and peace to all this holiday season!